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Does it matter if leadership is about us? A review and meta-analysis of other orientation in leadership

In the face of recurring corporate scandals and rampantly selfish behavior, a focus on various types of leadership that takes into account the interests of others more so than oneself has started to emerge. Other-orientation is defined as “the propensity to be concerned for others” (De Dreu, 2006; De Dreu & Nauta, 2009; Meglino & Korsgaard, 2004: p. 946) It is a viable alternative to the purely rational or self-centered approach to employee motivation.  

The current study reviewed the leadership literature with a specific focus on leadership behaviors that can be construed as other-oriented, i.e. servant leadership, leader self-sacrifice, ethical leadership, leader humility, socialized charismatic leadership and empowering leadership. Moreover, this study examined the impact of other-oriented leadership on outcomes at multiple levels by meta-analyzing 207 effect sizes (N=49,404). Dr. Marinova and Hae Sang Park found:

  • Other-oriented leadership improves desirable outcomes at individual, group and organizational levels.
  • The relationship between other-oriented leadership and outcomes differs according to cultural values such as power distance, collectivism vs. individualism, femininity vs. masculinity, and long-term vs. short-term orientation.
Implications of the Results

This study theoretically and empirically integrates similar leadership constructs. Moreover, this study demonstrates the various levels of effectiveness of leaders who rate high in other-orientation in different cultural contexts.